requiescat in pace: the world's finest shop dog

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I got in late last night, after putting in an obscenely long work day. My dogs greeted me with their usual zeal when I walked through the door, and Bubby, especially, as was his wont, just couldn't get enough of me. Every time I took a step forward, he would jump back up and put his forepaws on my chest, begging me to scratch him just so, and giving me that look he always had. That look that always allowed me to look through his eyes into his soul and see the profundity of his unbridled affection for me.
Bubby was not the "chief" dog in our little pack, but he was, secretly, my favorite. Bubby and I had a special relationship that was different even from that I share with my "puppy princess" Freckles. Freckles is always close at hand, and wherever I am, she must be within sight of me. Bubby was more of a free ranging spirit, but he always stayed close, and always came when I called him. When I did, he poured forth such good cheer and adoration that I could not help but hold him most dear of all, in spite of his slightly more troublesome nature.
Last night, I let him out to pee, and I forgot to call him back. I realized this half an hour later, and then I stayed up until 5:30 AM roaming the neighborhood in my car, on foot. I walked over the bridge and through the woods. I found dog prints and deer prints, and supposed perhaps he had chased a deer over the pedestrian bridge into the forest. I walked about two miles in the dead of night with my flashlight, poking around in all the out of the way ugly places in all the commercial properties surrounding us. I walked the same distance on the business route, up one side and down the other, probing both ditches with my flashlight, and yelling until I could barely make a sound.
I never thought to perform the same search on the new bypass that runs behind the house. There is a barbed wire fence all along its length, to keep the road on the road side, and the non-road on the non-road side. I had verified the integrity of this fence many times, and I trusted it so much that the business route did not even enter my consciousness as a possible location to search for him.
I suppose, in retrospect, I should have searched the fence line first. I might have gotten more sleep last night, instead of starting and waking every few minutes to go to the door, and verify that the pile of catfood (his favorite) had still gone uneaten. Bubby loved catfood.
Bubby found a break in the fence about a mile from here, went up the hill, and got killed on the bypass two miles from home. There was not enough of him left to bring home for a proper burial. As much as I wanted to see him laid to rest here at home, I could not bring myself to lug a 60 pound bag of dog parts on the two mile hike. When I found him, he was already on the roadkill truck, and I decided to leave him there. I don't know if that was the wrong decision or not.
I haven't lost a pet to a car in more than 20 years because I have always been careful. Always. Always, until one night when I came home from putting in an extremely long work day, let my dog out to pee on his own recognizance, and then forgot to yell for him before he had a chance to wander off.
Dogs don't live long. It's a foregone conclusion that loving a dog is going to lead inevitably and inexorably to heartbreak at some point down the road. Sometimes they get diseases that no person of normal means can afford to have treated. Sometimes they have inherent genetic defects that lead them to have short, painful lives. Sometimes they live to be 15 or 18 or even 22, but the road always ends in heartbreak. Dogs live well, and they live happy, and they burn up their measure of time far more rapidly than we. Loving a species that can age from infancy to senescence in less time than it takes a human to become old enough to grow a good beard always carries with it an inescapable measure of tragedy.
Even so, Bubby's time was not supposed to have run out yet. It makes it all the more difficult to bear. At two, he was still in his prime, with several more years before he would have started to show the first signs of aging. He probably could have stood at my side until my kids were out of college, or maybe beyond. Dog lives are not so short that they can't span wide expanses of human experience.
This is my fault, for failing in my vigilance, and for allowing yet another cherished pet fall prey to the road. I don't know how long it will take me to forgive myself. This day, this sadness, this loss was inevitable from the day Bubby was born, for only by our human children can we rightfully expect to be outlived, but this sad, hateful day was at least six, probably ten, fifteen, even sixteen or more years too soon in coming. I was not prepared for this. I would be more able to cope with the loss of my precious Freckles, she who is always never more than 10' away from me, for she has long been my stead companion, and the ravages of time are beginning to affect her. Bubby was in the prime of life, and he, like millions before him, died before his time because so many species have not yet evolved any common sense when it comes to those mysterious bands of asphalt and concrete that crisscross the civilized world.
I wish it had been Sugar. I love Sugar, but she was not nearly as dear to me as my beloved Bubby. She was wont to slip her collar and range far and wide. I strongly suspect that she lead Bubby to his death by showing him the hole in the fence. Bubby was never an escape artist, but Sugar has been trouble from the day she first showed up; having doubtless escaped from some previous owner we were never able to locate.
So the worst of it, in a way, is that I have to continue to deal with the living while trying not to hold her unfairly responsible for the dead. They are, after all, only dogs. They do what dogs do. They may be man-made things bred through the millennia to be our unique and un-natural companions, but they are still creatures of Nature for all that, as are we ourselves.
I hope he was enjoying whatever he was doing at the moment of impact immensely, and that he left life with a happy thought in his head. Coming home from work will never be the same again, no matter what new companions eventually come into my life to fill this void. Each dog, each four-legged friend, is different. The Bubby Era is officially over, and I have only a mangled collar and some digital photographs I took of my beloved pet just a few short days ago.
Thank you for reading this epitaph. I'm going to sit around and cry all day, and then when the rest of my people get home from work and school, I guess we will all cry together.
Thank you for two great years, Bubby. You were the most loving pet I have ever had, and there will never be another one like you for as long as I live.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Thanks for sharing.
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"Silvan"

I hope your sorrows will ease soon but I know it will take time. I'm quite attached to my puppy, who was raised on a dead end road and doesn't stand a chance in traffic. I don't let him off the leash near roads, as it's my worst fear, and he is a terrier, bred to chase things before you know it.
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"Fletis Humplebacker" <!> wrote:

That's the bitter part of all of this. I live on a dead end road too. It terminates in a 20' high concrete wall, with a highway up above. There's a fence running the entire length. I had checked the fence many times, because I used to throw baseballs on the wrong side of it, and I was looking for a way over to retrieve them without climbing over the barbed wire. I had so thoroughly convinced myself of the integrity of this fence, that the road above didn't even enter into consideration until one of Mom's friend called to say she thought she had seen my dog on the side of the road on her way to work that morning.
My error was in thinking like a human. Going OVER, not UNDER. That fence isn't worth a damn for keeping dogs off the highway because it intersects with a steep hill, like this
| / | / | / / / /
There are all kinds of places along the bottom where two swipes of a paw are enough to dig out and go right under. This particular hole was big enough for me to go under without getting my pants dirty.
So now I know. I wish I had been able to find out in a less painful way.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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At 68 years of age I have gone through this cycle with dogs, cats, fish, hamsters and,sadly, people. What a beautiful tribute to Bubby - wherever he is, he will know he was loved.
Vic
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One of the reasons I didn't want a dog when we got our present queen of the house is the relative short term of the relationship. It is always painful. I hope your pain eases soon.
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Sad to hear about your loss, Michael. I only have a small idea of what that must feel like. I got some insight when my dad, he was 78 at the time, came apart at the seams when his 14-year-old dog had to be put to sleep. I had never seen that side of him before. It was a pleasant surprise.
-?-
Rob
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Michael,
    My deepest sympathies. I lost my Goldie Girl 8 months ago. Even though two new dogs have entered my life, I still grieve for Goldie every day. Again sorry for your loss.
Roger Haar
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"Robatoy" wrote in message

Know the feeling.
My Dad, a WWII Silver Star/Purple Heart recipient, and as brave and tough a man as you would ever want to meet to this day, surprised me when I was a youngster when we had to put animals down, a fairly common occurrence on a small farm ... he simply could never do it.
The task always fell to me. I hated it, but I could always rationalize why it was necessary, even though there was always a tear in my eye when I had to it.
When we had to put out family dog down last year due to age, I gave my youngest daughter the option of being with her and stroking her head at the end, but alas, she takes after her grandfather. I figured it was the least thing I could do for such a faithful old friend.
--
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"Silvan" wrote in message

Sad tale, and very sorry to hear it. We lost our 14 year old Golden Retriever last year and I still catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye, or hear her collar jingle, or expect to see her come trotting up to greet us when we come home in the evening
We still have not replaced her ... you just can't do it for a while.
I am starting to believe that if want a dog, you should have two. One young and one old, it's better that way when you lose one.
--
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Swingman wrote:

Not, my friend, when the young one gets hit by a car. :(
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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<<< Snip for brevity >>>

Sorry to hear about that- I've had my Collie for twice as long as I've known my wife, and I can hardly think about what life without his (now very grey) fuzzy face would be like. Hope it doesn't tear you up for too long. My sincere condolances.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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Silvan wrote:

Man, I feel your pain. Pets have always been like children in my house... they live here until they die, no matter what their faults may be. I acquired a dog back in November from a shelter (my first pet in about 8 years). We have bonded like I never would have thought possible. When I speak, my dog listens as if I were the Burning Bush. I don't know what I'd do if I lost her prematurely.
I am very sorry for your loss. Your story almost had me crying.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
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Silvan wrote: snip of something we've all lived through, some of us many times.
It won't help, but I'm sorry. You're really not to blame, dogs are like guys, we do what we want to, and sometimes it gets us in trouble. Could be why guys and dogs seem to understand each other so well.
Dave
--
Dave Leader
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"Dave in Fairfax" wrote in message

Now, I really like that ... thank you for that observation!
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Dave in Fairfax wrote:

I tried to say something to that effect that the graveside service. No remains, so we had a symbolic ceremonial funeral pyre where we burned a can of cat food (Bubby's favorite, oh how he loved cat food) and one of his boogity-boos(dog toys) in a bonfire that consumed every scrap and every bit of yard debris, and blazed for three hours. I evidently make a half decent Pagan priest.
My "sermon" was about the trades we sometimes have to make between pleasure and safety. I talked about how, for example, woodworking or riding a bicycle is more dangerous than sitting on the porch, and how we constantly accept a certain level of greater or lesser implied risk to engage in activities we consider more pleasurable than their safer alternatives. True safety is mind numbingly boring, and it doesn't lead to a very enjoyable lifetime, so we trade away some of this security for pleasure. Sometimes it results in dislocated elbows, cut fingers, and sometimes the consequences are fare more dire, as in this instance.
We can take some small solace from the fact that he died doing exactly what he wanted to do, and he died well. His eyes were closed, and his face slack. He didn't have a grizzly, tooth-clenched, open-eyed rictus of death as I have sometimes seen. He never saw it coming, I hope.
Poor, stupid dog. I'm going to miss his hugs.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan wrote:

The more you try to make it so the less you actually live.
It's called 'the human condition', I think.
--RC
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Sorry for your loss! I lost a pet about 6 months ago due to Poisoning. They suspect radiator fluid but it could have been anything around the house.??? I still feel guilty that it was something I left lying around. They said a table spoon of antifreeze will kill. It was an agonizing death. We thought she was just sick, then we could not find her. In the morning she was on the porch in obvious pain. We took her to the Vet who watched her throught the day. After work we went and saw her. She looked in bad shape. The vet got her blood work back and saw the numbers and recomended putting her down. My wife stayed with her but I could not!! It amazing how attached you get.
Now I'll tell you, it was a CAT!!! Not the same as a dog but this cat would follow me around the yard and sit and watch me work. Whatever I was doing I could look up and the cat would be there watching what I was doing!!!
I cant imagine what losing a child must be like.
We thought long and hard about getting a dog but we are at work all day and I couldnt see leaving a dog home alone all day. Nice for us but unfair to the dog. So we have another cat now. It just went in to get fixed today.
Steve
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Steve wrote:

My wife miscarried & I was pretty torn up for a month or two. I had already become quite fond of the son or daughter. When asked how many children I have I answer "2" but I always think, "3 but I haven't met one of them yet." He or she would have had his or her 20th birthday about now....
It must be really rough to lose a child you've known as an individual.
-- Mark
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Profoundly saddened by your loss.
I don't think I have ever read a more touching epitath.
Joe
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